Kajal Nisha Patel (b.1979) is an award winning photographer and filmmaker, working between the UK and India. Since 2005, she has documented the British South Asian experience, concentrating on issues around cultural conflict and bereavement, assimilation and the formation of new identities. Areas of research include colonial and postcolonial histories of India, legacies of trade and its consequences upon people, place and memory.


Kajal’s interests in migration and human rights have led her to research the marginalised experiences and multiple identities of British South Asian women. This work has facilitated Kajal to start gathering the fragmented pieces of her heritage and reconcile familial (particularly female) experiences of imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy, racism and the indignity of poverty. Through this work, she has been awarded the Leverhulme Artist in Residence at The University of Leicester until December 2016.


Kajal is also the founder of Lightseekers social enterprise, which uses photography and storytelling as a platform to learn about and engage with important social issues. It is a cross-cultural education project, which delivers workshops to low-income areas.


Grants & Awards


Community Engagement Fund, Leicester City Council, Grant, 2016

The Leverhulme Trust, Artist in Residence, Grant, 2016

Big Lottery Fund, Lightseekers – UK, Connecting Cultures, 2014

LLRC, Lightseekers, UKSocial Enterprise Fund, 2013

Magenta Flash Forward, Winner, 2013

Asian Women Photographers Showcase, Finalist, 2013

The Sandergram Project, Artist Rooms, Tate Gallery/New Walk Museum, Winner, 2013

Format Festival, Exposure. Selected Artist, 2013

Heritage Lottery Fund, Trading Spaces, All Our Stories, Grant, 2012

Near Neighbours, Belgrave Factory Workers, Church Urban Fund, 2012

Nesta & New Art Exchange, Culture Cloud, Finalist, 2012

Leicester City Council, Finding My Path, Grant, 2012

Gammelgaard Monochrome, Copenhagen, Lightseekers – India, Grant, 2012

LCB Depot Prize, Open 21, Winner, 2009

Arts Council England, Lightseekers, Grant, 2009

Leicester City Council, Lightseekers, UK, Grant, 2009

Selected Commissions


Loughborough University, Department of Politics, History & International Relations

“Four Women. Five Stories”. A film series profiling the 1972 Mansfield Hosiery Mills Asian workers strikes for equal pay. Jun – Dec 2015


City Arts, Nottingham

“Portrait”. Documenting industrial decline in the areas surrounding Chesterfield. Feb – Apr 2015


The Racial Equality Council

“What Do You See When You Look at Me”. A series of portraits aimed to dispel visual stereotypes. Jun – Jul 2014





Featured artist – Doh Mix Meh Up – Diaspora and Identity in Art, Eds. Jane Garnett and Sunil Shah, Oxford Diasporas Programme, Oxford University, Leverhulme, Sep 2015.



Television, Press & Media


The Guardian,

The Economist,

The Independent,

British Journal of Photography,

BBC World News,


Outlook India,

BBC East Midlands Today,

BBC Radio Leicester/Notts/London



Artist Talks/Lectures


Attenborough Arts Centre

May 2015


The Royal Photographic Society

Ravensbourne College, Greenwich

May 2015


The Eye Festival


Jun 2014


Portrait Salon

FUSE Arts Space, Bradford

Oct 2013


Gammelgaard Kunst & Kultur Centre

Herlev, Copenhagen

Sep 2011

Selected Exhibitions


Flâneur by Paris, A Perspective, Cité International Universitaire de Paris, May 2016


The Portrait Salon, Reminders Photography Stronghold, Sumida Tokyo, Japan Feb 2016


The Impact of Diasporas, Royal Geographical Society, Leverhulme Funded, Oxford University Sept 2015


Changing Britain, The Southbank Centre, London Apr 2015


Doh Mix Meh Up, OFS Arts, Oxford University, Nov 2014


What Do You See When You Look at Me, Racial Equality Council, The Curve, Leicester Jul 2014


100 Images of Migration, School of Museum Studies, Leicester May 2014


Flash Forward, Fairmont Battery Wharf, Boston, USA, Mar 2014


Making Home, Royal Geographical Society, London, Sep 2013


Flash Forward, Neubacher Shor Contemporary, Toronto, Oct 2013


Fabric, Asian Women Photographers Showcase, Chiang Mai, Thailand, May 2013


Factory, Format Festival, Derby, April 2013


Photographic Thinking, TEDx AshokaU Exchange, San Diego, Mar 2013


Fabric, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, Jun 2013


Flight to Greenham, Greenham Common Arts, Newbury, Nov 2012


Protection, M.Žilinskas Art Gallery Auditorium, Lithuania, Oct 2012


The Golden Mile, The National Museum of Singapore, Sep 2012


From Kampala to Leicester, Leicester New Walk Museum, Aug 2012


The Golden Mile, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, May 2012


Magnum Photos, The Whitechapel Gallery, London, May 2011


Satyaprakash, BBC, Leicester, May 2008


Satyaprakash, Seva Café, Ahmedabad. India, May 2007





Leicester New Walk Museum, Private collections; USA, Australia, UK